March 29th was the first thirteenth Sabbath in 2014. Our children’s department was in charge of the program, and children carried out every activity in church that day. In Proverbs 22:6, wise king Solomon said, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
On our Susu Project team, Theresa Tooray is in charge of the children’s department. She speaks very little French, but she loves children. With the help of Mariam Hounomou, a French-speaker, she works with the children day in and day out.
Theresa is a very capable woman, but she has struggled with low self esteem because of her lack of education. We have labored with her for years, trying to get her to trust fully in God to work through her, but still she remained very timid.
One day, Theresa told me she was concerned about where to find some necessary funding for the thirteenth-Sabbath children’s program. In addition to the usual food costs, she wanted to make robes for the children’s choir. “Well,” I said, “if you think God is putting this need on your heart, the Bible says that where He leads, He guides and provides. What can I do to help with your fundraising?”
After some thought, she decided to contact Cathy Coleman and Susy Gomez to see if they would be willing to assist. After praying about it for a few days, she called and talked with them, and they both agreed to provide funding.
When the money arrived, Theresa bought fabric for the robes, took it to a tailor and negotiated a price. While this was going on, she was having meetings and rehearsals with the kids every Sunday and Wednesday evening at her house.
Two weeks before the program, the devil attacked, and all the kids who had been rehearsing came down with malaria. We fasted and prayed for God’s intervention, and a week later God had returned the children to health. The Friday before the long-awaiting day, Theresa prepared breakfast for the children, and they all camped at the church and rehearsed.
Thirteenth Sabbath morning was beautiful, and 200 people arrived to honor the special occasion. All of the children were dressed in black and white for the Sabbath School program. The Sabbath School coordinator, Louise Guilavogui, gave the mission story, talking about the difficulties she went through each Sabbath to come to church. My son Emmanuel gave the sermon, preaching about how God can use little children, too. The children’s choir was directed by Earnestine Bonnet. The Maranatha Girls (Patricia Coker, Bernadette Haba and Marthe Loua) sang for special music. The children were at their best in everything they did. It was beautiful to see them in action, using their God-given talents to bring Him glory.
I was bursting with happiness to see all Theresa’s hard work rewarded. It is always a challenge to deal with children from different backgrounds with different personalities, but God had worked miracles through Theresa’s committed efforts as she relied on His strength. That Thirteenth Sabbath was a turning point for my friend Theresa. She testified to me after the program, “Now I believe that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” We both burst into tears and praised God for opening her eyes.
I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that our little group has a bright future. I attest with King Solomon, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” As I sat in church that Sabbath, I caught a glimpse of the future when these children—future pastors, elders, choir members, and men and women of God—will carry the Gospel message to their generation. Thank you for supporting the Susu Project.